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Voters’ registration set Nov. 4 to 6

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said yesterday the registration period is intended especially for those who will turn 15 years old by May 14, 2018 so they could participate in the SK elections. Edd Gumban/File
MANILA, Philippines — With the postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will resume voters’ registration from Nov. 4 to 6.

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said yesterday the registration period is intended especially for those who will turn 15 years old by May 14, 2018 so they could participate in the SK elections.

Filipino citizens who are at least 15 years old but not more than 30 years old on or before election day and residing in the barangay for at least six months can register to participate in the SK elections.

Qualified to vote in regular elections are Filipino citizens at least 18 years old on or before election day, a resident of the Philippines for at least one year, and residents in the place where they plan to vote for at least six months immediately preceding the elections.

President Duterte signed Republic Act 10952 postponing the barangay and SK elections from Oct. 23 this year to May 2018.

Bautista said they decided to shelve the voters’ registration from December 2017 to September 2018 for the midterm elections in May 2019.

“We have to conduct the 2018 elections first. The 2019 voters’ registration will happen after the 2018 barangay and SK elections,” Bautista said.

Almost P1 B spent

Bautista said the Comelec spent almost P1 billion preparing for the barangay and SK polls.

“Our total budget is around P7.6 billion, but we have spent more or less P900 million,” he said.

Bautista said the money was spent for printing 59.5 million ballots for Luzon and the Visayas. Ballots for Mindanao were not printed as the Comelec had earlier cancelled the elections due to the implementation of martial law.

He said P350 million went to other expenses such as salaries of election personnel.

Bautista said only P550 million could be used for the elections next year.


Ex-CDO mayor acquitted of Civil Service Commission defiance rap

The Comelec resolution was in connection with the May 2013 elections. File photo
MANILA, Philippines — The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan has acquitted former Cagayan De Oro City mayor Vicente Emano of a criminal case in connection with his alleged refusal to implement a Civil Service Commission order to reinstate a municipal employee who he supposedly demoted in 2009.

In a 13-page decision promulgated on October 13, the court's First Division said the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of Emano for violation of Section 121 of the Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service (RRACCS) in relation to the Administrative Code of 1987.

Filed by the Office of the Ombudsman last year, the case stemmed from Emano's alleged willful refusal to implement a CSC decision issued on Sept. 18, 2012 ordering the reinstatement of Leonor Esparcia to her original position as administrative assistant III (senior book keeper ) at J.R. Borja General Hospital.

Esparcia was transferred by Emano to the City Library as watchman in October 2009.

In his testimony during the trial of the case, Emano said he ordered Esparcia's transfer as she was then being investigated for a complaint of anomalous conduct. Emano said the city government even filed an administrative case against Esparcia in 2011 following the investigation.

In its ruling, the First Division said that while it was established that Emano failed to implement the CSC decision until the end of his term, the prosecution failed to prove his “willful” intent to defy the CSC order.

“Upon an assiduous review of the evidence presented by the prosecution, the Court finds and so holds that the prosecution has failed to establish that the accused should be held criminally liable,” the decision penned by division chairman Associate Justice Efren De La Cruz read.

Associate Justices Geraldine Faith Econg and Edgardo Caldona concurred with the ruling.

Court records show that Esparcia was reinstated to her original post only on July 2, 2013 during the term of incumbent mayor Oscar Moreno.

Nonetheless, the First Division gave weight on Emano's argument that he did not order the immediate reinstatement of Esparcia as there was no writ of execution from the CSC accompanying its decision and because of an existing election ban by the Commission on Elections.

Emano pointed out that when the CSC, on Feb. 5, 2013, denied the city government's appeal on its September 2012 order for Esparcia's reinstatement, the Comelec's resolution, prohibiting the transfer or movement of officers and employees in the civil service from January 13 to June 12, 2013, was already in effect.

The Comelec resolution was in connection with the May 2013 elections.

Emano said that as advised by the city government's legal department, he deemed it prudent to put Esparcia's reinstatement on hold as moving her to her original post might constitute as a violation of the Comelec resolution and might cause his disqualification as he was then seeking re-election.

Furthermore, Emano said the city government also has a pending petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals questioning the CSC's September 2012 resolution. Records show that the CA denied the petition only on May 31, 2013.

“The lack of the writ of execution from the CSC and the fact that he has a pending appeal before the CA negate the impression that he willfully refused to implement the said decision,” the court's decision read.

“It is not disputed that when the accused received the CSC Resolution affirming its decision to reinstate Esparcia, it was already within the period of the election ban which prohibits the transfer or movement of government personnel...Thus for the accused to effect a reinstatement during the election ban...may indeed expose him to possible charges of election offenses,” it added.

Following his acquittal, the First Division also ordered the lifting of the hold departure order it earlier issued against Emano.


Duterte expects gov't to lose, rights groups to win after sidelining police

President Rodrigo Duterte, in his speech during the opening ceremonies of the Buglasan Festival 2017 at the Lamberto Macias Sports and Cultural Center in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental on October 13, 2017, reiterates his vow to beef up the capabilities of the government security forces before his term ends. ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO
MANILA, Philippines — After stripping the police force of the authority to conduct anti-illegal drug operations, President Rodrigo Duterte said he now expects the government to lose in its war on drugs while human rights groups condemning the crackdown are bound to win.

Early this week, Duterte issued a memorandum designating the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency as the “sole agency” in charge of the drug war amid simmering public outrage over alleged police abuse in the deadly campaign. He said he is hoping this move will satisfy the “bleeding hearts” and the media.

In an interview aired over state-run PTV on Friday night, Duterte, when asked how he expects to win the drug war after he inhibited the police from taking part in the crackdown, said: “Ako, frankly? I expect to lose it.”

“Ang human rights ang manalo diyan,” he said, adding that he will no longer “interfere” in the campaign.

“Hindi ako naghugas, ayaw ko na. Pulis, huwag na kayong makialam. Military, huwag na kayong makialam,” he said.

Duterte—who easily won the race to Malacañang last year on a promise to use deadly force to wipe out crime and drugs—has stoked international alarm for activating his fierce anti-drug campaign.

But human rights watchdogs say most of the fatalities are extrajudicial killings committed by cops and unknown assailants—a claim that the government has vehemently denied by insisting that police are only killing in self-defense while gangsters are silencing potential witnesses.

Police data show 3,850 have "died in police operations," suggesting these are drug suspects who engaged arresting officers in shootouts. Meanwhile, there are 2,290 "deaths under investigation," which have already been determined to be "drug-related."

Filipinos have mostly backed Duterte’s drug war even as critics condemned the spate of killings. But the recent deaths of three teenagers in the country’s capital have triggered rare street protests and highlighted concerns about abusive police officers.

In his speech in Dumaguete City also on Friday, Duterte said his move to sideline the police from the drug war was “fraught" with "so many dangers” and “so many grave consequences.”

“But if it works, then okay. But if it fell short of the expectation, malipay man ang pari (the priests will get happy.),” the firebrand leader said.

In an interview with CNN Philippines on Friday morning, Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said he would appeal to Duterte to let the police back in the war on drugs should the crime situation get out of hand.

Dela Rosa also admitted the PNP is to blame for Duterte’s drop in satisfaction ratings, adding that the killing of minors by Caloocan City cops was a setback in the war against drugs.

“It’s our fault because we have members doing something illegal so we pulled the President down,” he said.


PDP-Laban won't accept new members by end-November

RULING PARTY. Highest elected officials of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan during the ruling party's 35th anniversary celebration on March 12, 2017. Malacañang file photo 

MANILA, Philippines – Politicians wishing to join the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) would only have until next month as the ruling party is set to stop accepting new members by the end of November.

Senate President and party president Aquilino Pimentel III said they need enough time to screen and choose their official candidates for the midterm elections in May 2019.

PDP-Laban is already preparing for the national and local elections. Just last week, Pimentel revealed the initial names on their Senate slate for 2019.

These include Pimentel himself, Negros Occidental 3rd District Representative Albee Benitez, Bataan 1st District Representative Geraldine Roman, Davao City 1st District Representative Karlo Nograles, former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino, and House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas.

"After the massive influx of new members into the Party for the past year, we now have significant presence in most of the provinces of the country. We should now focus on teaching all the members the Party Ideology and Program of Government and deepening their understanding of these. After this, we can present a solid and united front come 2019," Pimentel said.

He added that they are wary of possible members only showing up in the period leading up to the elections to enjoy the privileges of being in the ruling party.

"We are not a party of political convenience," said Pimentel.

"By stopping recruitment, we will have time to indoctrinate and train our members, screen possible candidates, and absorb our new members into our grassroots infrastructure," he added.

Pimentel's father, PDP-Laban founder and former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr, earlier called on the party to question the motives of new members.

"It is now being swamped by new members, and I think it is important that the motivation of these people going to the party should be put into question," said Pimentel in a Rappler Talk interview last July 29.

"Only if the party is satisfied that they are really sincere, eager to learn about party platforms, direction that they should be accepted as members. Otherwise, they should be accepted as allies but not necessarily members."

After President Rodrigo Duterte's victory in the May 2016 elections, some lawmakers from former president Benigno Aquino III's Liberal Party (LP) jumped ship to PDP-Laban. The House of Representatives is dominated by a Duterte-allied "supermajority."

Local officials from different political affiliations also shifted to PDP-Laban. Just last week, Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan, Siquijor Governor Zaldy Villa, and Occidental Mindoro Vice Governor Peter Alfaro took their oath before Pimentel. –



Batanes Representative Dina Abad dies

Photo from Henedina Razon-Abad's Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – Batanes Representative Henedina "Dina" Abad, the wife of former budget secretary Florencio Abad, died on Sunday, October 8.

Vice President Leni Robredo, chairperson of the Liberal Party (LP), confirmed Abad's death in a Facebook post.

"You will be terribly missed, Congresswoman Dina Abad. The nation lost another treasure," Robredo said.


The Abad family has yet to issue a statement on the lawmaker's passing.

An LP member, Abad headed the House committee on government reorganization in the 17th Congress until she was stripped of the post for not voting in favor of the controversial death penalty bill.

She was also among the lawmakers who pushed for the passage of the reproductive health law.

On Twitter, several lawmakers paid tribute to Abad.

Aside from her stint in the House, Abad was also a longtime professor at the Ateneo de Manila University. She served as the founding dean of the Ateneo School of Government (ASoG).

Current ASoG dean Ronald Mendoza said in a Facebook post, "We will continue the fight for good governance, Congresswoman/Dean Henedina 'Dina' Abad."

Abad graduated with an Economics degree from Miriam College (formerly Maryknoll College). She then obtained her Masters in Public Administration at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. –


SWS: Duterte’s satisfaction rating falls by 11 points

Reuters file photo of President Rodrigo Duterte
MANILA – The Third Quarter 2017 Social Weather Survey, conducted from September 23-27, 2017, found gross satisfaction with President Rodrigo Duterte fell by 11 points from 78%, gross dissatisfaction rose by 7 points from 12%, and gross undecided rose by 4 points from 10%.

In terms of net satisfaction, the poll found 67% of adult Filipinos satisfied, 19% dissatisfied, and 14% undecided, yielding a net satisfaction rating of +48 (% satisfied minus % dissatisfied), classified by SWS as good – 18 points below the very good +66 (78% satisfied, 12% dissatisfied) in June 2017.


See also:
Third Quarter 2017 Social Weather Survey: Pres. Duterte’s Net Satisfaction Rating falls to “Good” +48

Net trust declines to “Very Good” +60
The September 2017 survey also found 73% of Filipinos with much trust, 12% with little trust 15% undecided, and in Pres. Duterte.

This gives a net trust rating of +60 (% much trust minus % little trust, correctly rounded), classified by SWS as very good.

This is a 15-point decline, and one grade below, the excellent +75 (82% much trust, 7% little trust) in June 2017, according to SWS.

Pres. Duterte’s net trust rating was a moderate +16 when SWS first asked about it in December 2015. It stayed moderate from January 2016 to March 30-April 2, 2016, ranging from +13 to +29, before it went to a good +30 in April 18-20, 2016.

It went to a moderate +26 just before the May 9, 2016 elections, and rose to a personal record-high of excellent +79 just days before his inauguration in June 30, 2016. It stayed excellent for five consecutive quarters before declining by one grade to very good +60 in September 2017.

The SWS terminology for Net Satisfaction and Net Trust Ratings: +70 and above, “excellent”; +50 to +69, “very good”; +30 to +49, “good”; +10 to +29, “moderate”, +9 to -9, “neutral”; -10 to -29, “poor”; -30 to -49, “bad”; -50 to -69, “very bad”; -70 and below, “execrable”.

Relationship of satisfaction and trust ratings
The 18-point decline in Pres. Duterte’s net satisfaction rating amid the 15-point decline in his net trust rating, between June and September 2017, resulted from the declines in his net satisfaction ratings among both those with much trust and those with little trust in him.

Pres. Duterte’s net satisfaction rating fell by one grade from excellent to very good among those with much trust in him, at +69 in September 2017, down by 10 points from +79 in June 2017 [Chart 3].

It fell by one grade from neutral to poor among those with little trust in him, at -38 in September, down sharply by 41 points from +3 (correctly rounded) in June.

It stayed moderate among those undecided about their trust or distrust in him, at +14 in September, up by 4 points from +10 in June.

Net satisfaction Excellent in Mindanao, Good elsewhere
By area, the President’s net satisfaction rating from June 2017 to September 2017 fell by 30 points in the Visayas, 22 points in Balance Luzon, and 19 points in Metro Manila, while it stayed steady in Mindanao.

It stayed excellent in Mindanao, at +76 (82% satisfied, 6% dissatisfied) in September 2017, hardly moving from +75 (83% satisfied, 8% dissatisfied) in June 2017 [Chart 4].

However, it fell by two grades from excellent to good in the Visayas, at +43 (64% satisfied, 21% dissatisfied) in September 2017, down by 30 points from +73 (83% satisfied, 10% dissatisfied) in June 2017.

It fell by one grade from very good to good in Balance Luzon, at +36 (59% satisfied, 23% dissatisfied) in September, down by 22 points from +58 (73% satisfied, 15% dissatisfied) in June.

It also fell by one grade from very good to good in Metro Manila, at +44 (68% satisfied, 24% dissatisfied) in September, down by 19 points from +63 (77% satisfied, 13% dissatisfied, correctly rounded) in June.

The September 2017 Social Weather Survey was conducted from September 23-27, 2017 using face-to-face interviews of 1,500 adults (18 years old and above) nationwide: 600 in Balance Luzon, and 300 each in Metro Manila, Visayas, and Mindanao (sampling error margins of ±2.5% for national percentages, ±4% for Balance Luzon, and ±6% each for Metro Manila, Visayas, and Mindanao).

The area estimates were weighted by Philippine Statistics Authority medium-population projections for 2017 to obtain the national estimates.

The Social Weather Survey items on public satisfaction with, and public trust in, the President are non-commissioned. They are included on SWS’s own initiative and released as a public service.

SWS terminology for Net Satisfaction and Net Trust Ratings: +70 and above, “excellent”; +50 to +69, “very good”; +30 to +49, “good”; +10 to +29, “moderate”, +9 to –9, “neutral”; –10 to –29, “poor”; –30 to –49, “bad”; –50 to –69, “very bad”; –70 and below, “execrable.” SWS considers the movement from one classification to another as either an “upgrade” or “downgrade.”

SWS employs its own staff for questionnaire design, sampling, fieldwork, data-processing, and analysis, and does not outsource any of its survey operations.


Army seizes suspected shabu and IED from ISIS-inspired local terrorist group

A member of the explosives and ordnance division points to some of the IED components retrieved from the target site. HANDOUT PHOTO FROM PHIL. ARMY
CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – Combat strike operations by the Armed Forces of the Philippines resulted in the arrest of 20 armed local terrorists and the seizure of suspected shabu and components of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) at the boundary of So. Simboloy, Brgy Kuden, Talitay and Brgy Brar, Datu Anggal Midtimbang, all of Maguindanao, on Saturday (October 07, 2017).

The combined troops of the 19th Infantry Battalion and 6th Infantry Battalion IB responded to a report on the presence of “ISIS-inspired” local terrorist group.

The successful operation was a result of the focused and intensified military operation against local terror groups in Central Mindanao and the campaign against illegal drugs, Major General Dela Vega, said.


Sandigan affirms ‘pork’ raps vs Syjuco

The Sandiganbayan will proceed with the trial of former Iloilo congressman Augusto Syjuco Jr. for the alleged misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel. File

MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan will proceed with the trial of former Iloilo congressman Augusto Syjuco Jr. for the alleged misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.

In a resolution released on Wednesday, the fifth division of the anti-graft court denied Syjuco’s motion to dismiss the two counts of graft and malversation of public funds filed against him by the Office of the Ombudsman for lack of merit.

The Sandiganbayan dismissed Syjuco’s claim that his constitutional right to speedy trial was violated when it took the ombudsman more than 11 years to finish its investigation.

“The delay should be considered reasonable as it was brought about by the need for a thorough investigation and review of documents,” the ruling penned by Associate Justice Maria Theresa Mendoza-Arcega read.

The cases stemmed from the alleged release of P4.3 million from Syjuco’s PDAF to non-government organization (NGO) Tagipusuon Foundation Inc. in March 2000 to implement a poultry breeding and production project in his district.

The ombudsman said the money was released to Tagipusuon without public bidding and despite the NGO’s lack of qualifications and track record.

Investigation also showed that Tagipusuon entered into an agreement with Ilonggo Chickboy Corp. to supply the chicks for the project.

Graft probers said Syjuco owned both Tagipusuon and Chickboy.

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